Tyler The Creator has been stirring things up since the day he arrived on the music scene. He made a name for himself and obtained his fan base via his no holds bar attitude and unfiltered way with words. But apparently people feel that he has gone too far recently. The controversial rapper has teamed up with popular beverage company Mountain Dew to release a series of commercials as “Felicia The Goat.” Felicia is a “nasty” creature with a Dew addiction who ends every scenario with the catch phrase: “You’re never gonna catch me.” There have been three commercials done so far. The first one features Felicia at a restaurant. The goat ultimately ends up attacking a waitress because she ran out of Dew. The second commercial features Felicia being pulled over by a cop and getting caught with a trunk full of Mt. Dew. The cop implies that the goat will be charged with a DewUI and she bails out of the vehicle.
The third commercial (screen shot below) features Felicia in a line-up while the waitress that she attacked in the first ad is brought in to point her out. She ends up intimidating the waitress through the glass; causing the waitress to change her mind about pressing charges as she flees out of the room. This third ad is the one that happens to be rubbing people the wrong way. The line-up features the goat amongst a couple of stereotypical looking Black males. The waitress who was attacked is White. Certain people feel that these elements make the ad racist, misogynistic, and offensive. Social commentator Dr. Boyce Watkins especially took offense to it and ripped the ad a new one via a post on website YourBlackWorld.net. He feels it was an attempt to appeal to the Black male demographic gone horribly wrong. He also feels that Mt. Dew should have never partnered with Tyler in the first place due to the nature of his music. Neither Tyler nor representatives from Mountain Dew could be reached for comments at press time. However, the line-up commercial was removed from the Odd Future YouTube channel.
This is one of many recent incidents that has placed Hip-Hop in the hot seat for the release of poor taste in lyrics and images to the public. This and other incidents have created a debate centered around rappers’ freedom of expression and the responsibility of sponsors when an artist is taken to task too. And this is not Mt. Dew’s only Hip-Hop related battle at the moment either. The beverage brand is also taking heat for working with rapper Lil Wayne. A while back, Lil Wayne caught a lot of scrutiny for his lyrics about a murdered teenager named Emmett Till. The teen was beaten, gouged, and shot before being weighed down and tossed into a river. The incident that got him such a vile death was his alleged flirting with a White female. He was only 14 years old when he passed away on August 28, 1955. Wayne referenced Till’s beating as a metaphor to a sexual act in “Karate Chop (Remix),” a track he did with fellow rapper Future. The line enraged the public and Till’s family has called upon all of Wayne’s sponsors to drop him as a client. Especially Mountain Dew, as they have come to be one of Wayne’s biggest investors which is made evident by his DEWeezy campaign. Wayne has yet to apologize or seriously address the Emmett Till situation.
**My Two Cents: I personally didn’t find the commercial offensive at all. Tyler has said and done way worse during his time in the spotlight. The commercials are just an extension of the foolery that he is known for. I think Watkins and others are reading way too much into things on this one. On the other side of things, I do feel like Lil Wayne and others have been a bit out of line as of late. I am all for free speech but some lines just shouldn’t be crossed. I wish Mountain Dew the best of luck in sorting out all of the issues that they are facing. They certainly have their hands full. -MinM